San Antonio – The 2009 fall sports season at St. Mary’s University gets underway this week with volleyball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer all kicking off their seasons with tough matchups. The volleyball team will open play at home on Thursday night when they host regionally ranked University of Central Oklahoma in the first match of the St. Mary’s/Texas MedClinic Invitational at Bill Greehey Arena.

Head coach Todd Caughlin and his spikers are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2008 season. Last year’s tournament was one of the few highlights for the Rattlers as St. Mary’s went 3-1 at the tournament and finished second. Caughlin is cautiously optimistic heading into this week’s play.

“We have looked good in preseason practice and I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform against some top-flight competition,” Caughlin said. “We worked hard developing a new aura to never accept losing and the combination of new and incoming student-athletes is combining to achieve our new goals and direction.”

The Rattlers face Central Oklahoma on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Bill Greehey Arena. They will follow that up with Millersville (2:30 p.m.) and 16th-ranked Florida Southern College (7 p.m.) on Friday. They will wrap up play at their season-opening tournament by facing Metropolitan State (Colo.) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

The men’s soccer team heads west to open its season. They will kick off the 2009 season by facing 10th-ranked Fort Lewis College on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Durango, Colo. The trial by fire continues on Sunday when they travel to Grand Junction, Colo., to take on Mesa State University at 1 p.m.

The Rattler women’s soccer team will also have two matches on the road this week to start the season. They start by traveling to Wichita Falls, Texas, to face Midwestern State University on Friday at 7 p.m. They will wrap up their road trip on Sunday when they head west to Abilene to challenge Abilene Christian University at 1 p.m.

Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams will open home play on Sept. 3, when they face Our Lady of the Lake in a men’s/women’s doubleheader at St. Mary’s Soccer Field, starting at 2 p.m.

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